Recipes Featured In 

Death At The Café

Cherishable Cherry Blossom Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Allow butter and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and cherry juice until combined. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.

Add sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts to the butter. Beat until combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture, beating on low speed until just combined. Spoon mixture into each paper liner, filling them about ⅔ full.

Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add two cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in ⅔ of the maraschino cherry juice and all of the almond extract. Beat in the additional powdered sugar slowly. If necessary, add the additional juice one teaspoon at a time until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. Top cupcakes with frosting, and add whole cherries for decoration. Makes approximately 24 cupcakes.

CHERUBIC CHOCOLATE CARAMEL BARS

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. To prepare the base, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Work in the flour with a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Press into a greased 12 x 9-inch baking tin, and bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until shortbread base is golden in color. Remove from the oven, and leave to cool.

To prepare the filling, put all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat, and boil the mixture for five minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat, leave to cool for one minute, then pour onto the cooled shortbread base. Leave to set.

Melt the chocolate in a small, heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water. Spread over the set filling. Mark into portions, fingers, or squares, and leave until quite cold and set before removing from the tin. Cut into pieces. Makes 18-20.

JUBILICIOUS JAM TURNOVERS

For the pastry:

For the filling:

Approximately 1 cup strawberry or apricot jelly

To finish:

Milk

Sugar

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and lard in walnut-sized pieces, and rub into the flour. Add water a teaspoon at a time until you can press the dough gently together with floured hands. Roll out on a well-floured board into a long thin oblong shape with a floured rolling-pin, keeping the edges as straight as possible with a palette knife.

Fold this oblong strip into three with the open edge facing you. Turn the dough a quarter turn clock-wise, and roll out to an oblong shape again. Repeat this folding and rolling process three times more, turning the dough a quarter turn each time it is folded. Fold into three, wrap in cling wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the chilled dough very thinly into a square shape. Cut into 4-inch squares. Put two teaspoons jelly just off center on each square of dough, leaving a margin. Dampen the edges with water. Fold the dough over the jelly to form a triangular shape, and press the edges together to seal. Brush with a little milk, and dredge with sugar.

Place on baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden-brown. Keep an eye on them as they cook quickly. Makes approximately 12 turnovers.

TERESA'S SURPRISE CAKE

Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C, and position rack in the center of the oven. Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan by lining the bottom and sides with parchment paper and brushing lightly with oil. Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water. Allow to cool slightly. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, then add sugar, almond extract, and cocoa powder with an electric mixer until well blended. The appearance will be grainy and lumpy. Gradually add eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated into the mixture. Add melted chocolate to creamed mixture, and blend it in so that the batter is smooth.

Heat the milk with the water until hot to touch (not boiling). Set aside. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl with the butter, sugar, chocolate mixture. Slowly fold in, then mix until completely blended. With your electric mixer on slow, pour in the hot milk and water. Increase the speed to medium to completely mix everything together. If it is too stiff, add water a tablespoon at a time to get a soft but not loose cake batter consistency.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing it from the baking pan. Once cooled, wrap the cake with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until completely chilled (about 1½ hours).

While the cake is cooling, prepare the chocolate mousse. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water. When the mixture is completely smooth and glossy, scrape into a large bowl and set aside.

In a clean bowl, mix the heavy cream until it comes together and whip lines are slightly visible. Place in the fridge to keep chilled.

Heat eggs, sugar, and water in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water. Whip until frothy and warm to the touch. Pour the mixture into a clean bowl, and mix on high until the mixture is very thick, smooth, and nearly white in color, about 8-12 minutes.

Scoop about ⅓ of the egg mixture into the melted chocolate and butter, and using a folding motion, lightly blend. There will be streaks of light and dark in the mixture. Add the rest of the egg mixture to the chocolate, carefully folding until a fairly uniform tone. Lightly fold in whipped cream. Place the mousse in the fridge until it is solid and the cake is ready to assemble.

To assemble the cake, very lightly spray a 9-inch spring form pan with oil and line it with parchment paper. Remove the cake from the fridge and using a very long, sharp knife, slowly slice through its middle to create two layers of equal size. (A serrated, sharp, bread knife works well).

Carefully place one layer into the bottom of the spring form pan making sure it is snug. Remove the mousse from the fridge, and spread half of it over the cake layer, making sure to even it out to the edges. Add the second layer of cake, and place it over the mousse. Gently press.

Spread the remaining mousse over the second cake layer, spreading to smooth it out on top. Place the cake in the freezer for at least 4 hours. If you are making this one day in advance, once the top of the cake is firm to touch, cover it in plastic wrap.

While cake is chilling, prepare almond buttercream frosting. In a bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until holds its shape in peaks. Chill. In a separate clean bowl, cream softened butter, sugar, and almond extract until smooth. Combine the chilled cream into the almond buttercream mixture. Chill until ready to use (at least 1½ hours).

Once the cake and mousse layers are chilled, the cake is ready to be frosted. Prepare the cake plate you will serve the cake on by lining it with pieces of parchment paper to be removed after frosting. Remove the spring form pan from the freezer.

Run a thin knife smoothly around the edge of the pan to help release it. Remove the cake from the pan and peel off the parchment paper from its bottom. Place the cake on the prepared cake plate. Spread the top and sides thinly with the chilled almond buttercream frosting. Place in the refrigerator while the chocolate ganache and decoration are prepared.

To make the ganache topping, heat the heavy cream, corn syrup, and palm shortening in a pan until just below boiling. Stir to blend, then pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for two minutes, then mix well until everything is smooth and glossy. Add the almond extract, and stir well.

To use immediately, remove the cake from the refrigerator, pour the ganache over the surface of the cake, and with an offset spatula, quickly smooth across the surface of the cake, allowing some to dribble down the sides. Place the cake back in the fridge.

If making the ganache ahead of time, place in the fridge in a covered container. When ready to use, heat in the microwave to bring to a pourable consistency and proceed as described above.

To prepare the toasted almond decoration, place almond slivers in a heavy, ungreased skillet. Stir continuously over medium heat until golden brown. Cool for 30-40 minutes.

Remove the cake, and put the toasted almond slivers along the edge of the finished cake, pressing in gently. This decoration gives the cake a delightful finish and elegant, nutty flavor.

Notes:

It is suggested that, for best results, this cake is made a day prior to serving, otherwise, allow at least six hours to make and assemble cake. Make sure the cake has ample time, at least 30 minutes, in the fridge to thaw before serving. Use a warm knife to slice through. Serves 16-20.

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